The View from Halcyon Farm: Decorating (or not) for the Holidays

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As the headline indicates, this year, it’s more like not decorating for the holidays. Our beloved housekeeper who keeps the house and us whipped into shape, broke her arm a few weeks ago, and is incapacitated until after the New Year. She’s the power behind the throne, so to speak, and we really rely on her to lead the charge on getting the house ready for the festive season, and all its attendant parties, dinners, and most of all decorating.


We have decorated Halcyon House Antiques, but the farm house will be woefully under-decorated this year. For the shop, mainly because of fire regulations, we’ve used faux fir, along with strands of white fairy lights. In the main hallway, we’ve added two of our cheery Santas, as well as two trees made from capiz shells and two tiny glass trees. The gas fire adds a note of warmth.


In the living room, again, we used the faux fir garlands, the capiz shell trees, and two hurricane lamps with the most amazing battery-operated candles. Seriously, you have to look twice to see whether these candles are real!

Earlier this week, Jonathan took the Gator out into our woods and cut some greenery, including dark glossy green magnolia leaves, shiny holly branches with their cheery red berries, boughs of several types of fir, and strands of bittersweet. He has the knack for casually sticking the branches into an urn, adding some apples and pine cones, and making it look like we had a visit from the best florist in town! Here are some examples we found on Pinterest.


Speaking of magnolia leaves, when you visit the shop, take a look at our incredible magnolia leaf wreath! It’s made with literally hundreds of magnolia leaves which have been spray-painted a cheery fire-engine red. It frames our sign just perfectly. We look forward to hanging this wreath every year.

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Weeks ago, we started loads of the amaryllis and paper-white narcissus bulbs in the greenhouse. I can’t stress enough what a great hostess gift these make.


And many people don’t realize that you can cut the long stalks of flowers from either plant and use them in an arrangement! Think of how nice bunches of narcissus would look on a mantle, or on a sideboard. Almost like bunches of daffodils!

For the amaryllis, we take an old silver trophy and fill it with blooms.It’s really spectacular. Tucking a few magnolia leaves into the arrangement really gives it that Christmassy look.


One of our outdoor urns has a small evergreen tree planted in it, and we’ve entwined some white lights in it. Earlier this fall, we had six of our big pines strung with white lights, so that they’re visible both from the road and from the house.

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Another plant we use for holiday decorating is cyclamen. If you ever visit London in the fall, you’ll see them in plant boxes everywhere. You usually find them in either red, pink or white.


Pots of red and white cyclamen scattered around your house will add a festive note, and with a little care, these plants will bloom for several months.

While our holiday is going to be a bit subdued, we hope that yours will be filled with lots of love and laughter, friends and family, and then peace and quiet!



Meg Fielding

Meg Fielding writes the local interior design and lifestyle blog Pigtown Design. She enjoys dual citizenship with the US and the UK.

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